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Sumati ShahHorticulturist, Arborist

    I’m a Horticulturist, Arborist, Yoga Nidra Guide, and Karmic Reading Practitioner.

    I LOVE my garden, the trees, and the wildlife in my back yard ecosystem. Keeping it natural and organic…diversely beautiful! Tending my garden nurtures soul and soil. Keeping it natural and organic, keeps it diverse and beautiful.

    Life is a wild adventure. Through it all, I find the activities needed to care for a garden have always been a place of beautiful and simple reflection. Like life, the work we put in to the garden’s care pays us back tenfold. Also like life, there are no rules except the ones you choose to keep. So remember to ease up, kick back, and enjoy the view …regularly!

    Latest Contributions

    Flowering Shrubs and Spring Clean Up

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   Early spring flowering shrubs are truly the most delightful things in the landscape.  They’re like a cheer squad for the outdoors. Witch Hazel and Forsythia are among the earliest – bright yellow simple flowers popping  out on the familiar forsythia before the leaves open up. Redbuds […]

    Woody Shrubs and Lavender in the Spring

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   Lavender: Lavandula species habit and care is soothing medicine for the season, all the seasons.   She’s a reliable and elegant teacher.  Observe the plant, and learn how one size does not fit all.  Pruning lavender is simple but nuanced, requiring closer attention to the habit […]

    Canning Sunshine: Dandelion Flower Tea

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   This is a time in the spring season when buds on the trees are swelling and some green is popping up…the lawns have started growing and so have the…weeds. Permaculture is just one gardening method that will seek to change your mind about what weeds are, […]

    A Mantid’s Prayer…

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   … wait until mid-May to collect your garden debris.   The birds are singing, the bulbs are sprouting, and the pollinators are waking from their slumber. The season of greening is truly underway…May is just around the corner  and every green thumb is feeling the itch […]

    Re-Grow, Reuse, Reflect: Lessons from the Chironion

    Written by Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   Ok that title got  a little far out but stay with me, I promise I’m on topic…. First, the detour about Chiron (you can look up the Greek mythology and also the astrology of Chiron…endlessly fascinating) but here’s the seed for my train of thought: Chiron […]

    And Just Like That… Voila! It’s Spring

    Written by: Sumati Shah; Go Go Green Thumbs   April showers bring May flowers. And…my Seed Schedule to the front of my mind. Tending a garden tends the soul. I didn’t make that up, it’s an expression for good reason.   My soul has benefited from learning to appreciate imperfection, appreciating the possibilities of ‘happy […]

    Double Duty Cardoon

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   My gardening space is a small backyard.  I’m always excited by the idea of a plant that will be beautiful to look at while it’s growing, and delicious when it’s eaten.   It makes for a more exciting season: watching the changes through the season and […]

    Planning for Permaculture: It’s Only Natural

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   Planning a food garden with sustainability as the goal leads naturally to the discovery of permaculture.  As with many things, it’s easier if we take our example from, and work with, Nature. Full sun veggies and plants still often benefit from some dappled shade in the […]

    Hügelkultur: Simple Permaculture

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   Can you dig it? Hügelkultur adapts easily to whatever circumstances you’ve got: Filling a raised bed or dug in as a trench, or somewhere in between:  a swale or berm that’s dug, filled and mounded.   I like this method for a lot of reasons and […]

    Ch-ch-ch-Mung Sprouts!

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Or chia, alfalfa…or mustard…or cress… A host of reasons exist why sprouts are by their nature what we could consider a ‘superfood’, consider it the edible alternative to a chia pet ….and let’s GoGo to it! They’re nutrient dense: a number of vitamins and essential fatty acids increase during the […]

    Spicy, Sweet and Definitely Seedy

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   We are now officially in “seed season.” It’s the weird-winter end of February into March. The days grow longer…. So here we are with about 10 weeks before the last expected frost date. I’m generally referencing  zone 6 here, and there’s about 7-10 days of grace […]

    Better Together: Companion Planting

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   Individuals thrive in diverse communities. Same goes for plants. When plants of different types share space, they thrive. One plant’s natural state, is another plant’s shelter, shield or nurturer. Whatever seeds you intend to sow for the coming growing season, consider your garden’s bedfellows now – […]

    Ask and You Shall Receive: Prayer Plant Propagation

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   I’d looked at the sad overgrown prayer plant in my living room for longer than than I should have, until finally the poor creature needed resuscitation or dispatch. Turns out that if you neglect to repot for long enough, they’ll push out aerial roots in their […]

    Magic Beans and Practice Runs

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Practice runs on the bunny hill are fun and filled with anticipation of what they lead to… the ‘big’ hill. Beans (always magical) are fun practice runs at your germination skills when winter activities are exhausted or it’s just time for some family time that doesn’t include mittens. Have some […]

    Victorious Gardening

    Written by: Sumati Shah   The Victory Garden: a practical solution for shortcomings in difficult times: when regular provisions might become difficult to access and self sufficiency amongst communities and individuals becomes a more valuable resource than times of greater abundance. The act of gardening itself – tending to the growth of plants day by […]

    It’s a Date! Seed Schedules and Personalised Almanacs

    Written by: Sumati Shah   “Start 6-8 weeks before last frost,” says the package of alluringly delicious looking vegetables!   Did you know it’s only 98 more sleeps until May? Me neither, and I’m undecided how I feel about it now that I do. The point is that the calendar counting finally got me; it’s […]

    Alive Spaces: Who’s Your Houseplant?

    Written by: Sumati Shah   They’ve been popular since the Victorian era when botanists were retrieving species en masse all over the globe, and the keeping of tropical plants indoors exploded. Parlour Palms [Areca sp.]  Mother-in-law’s Tongue [Sanseveria sp.] Baby’s Tears [Tradescantia sp.]  and so many other fanciful names became more and more common in homes […]

    A Gardener’s Manicure in January

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Just lately I’ve been jonesing for summer gardening, as I watch the winter juncos and squirrels from the kitchen window.   The seed list for 2022 is still developing. Many cups of tea and much time in quiet contemplation is needed – honest. You need some alone time, dreaming of […]

    Gardener on Holiday – The Seed List

    Written by: Sumati Shah   The seed catalogue arrives in the mail and I act like a kid on Christmas morning. I get completely carried away with grand plans of future constructions and new beds….and I end up with a seed list so long it’s laughable. Rule of Green Thumbs: Set yourself up with reasonable […]

    The Humble Buddleia

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Winter Solstice daydreaming.   What a stunner. Truly the most vivid colour is what stopped my scrolling through all the photos from my garden and walking adventures this year. We’re on the sunny side of the winter Solstice. While a white Christmas is still on my mind, the seed catalogue […]

    Orchid Season (It’s Snowing!)

    Written by: Sumati Shah, Go Go Green Thumbs   The “noID” Phalenopsis. So hybridized that their parentage is no longer possible to identify, orchids are plentiful and beautiful – easy to spot at the garden centre, florist, and grocery stores. The make an easy and elegant hostess gift. I’ve been learning more about different types […]

    Simon and Garfunkel: The Victorious Gardener’s Guide to Stuffing

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Scarborough Fair. That song was the ‘recipe’ I followed the first time I made my own stuffing.  This was pre-internet days, I’d looked at a couple of recipes and couldn’t decide, so I just went with it. It worked out better than I’d have imagined: A lifelong love of gardening, […]

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Tropical Introspection

    Written by: Sumati Shah   There’s a lot going wrong with this Calathea orbifolia, but there’s a lot going right too. (Familiar theme? Come with me…it’s just houseplants)   What’s certain, is that things are seldom perfect, and that’s perfectly ok (if for no other reason than resistance to change is futile!). I’ve had this […]

    Rosemary: A Winter Kitchen Herbiary Begins

    Written by: Sumati Shah   I felt like I was rescuing this pale leggy but nonetheless lush little rosemary in a teeny 3 1/2″ pot starting to sweat in a plastic sleeve, bent and squeezed into the shelf of a cooling rack wheeled out into the retail floor of the green goods section of a […]

    Planning Delight

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Get a pen, get a cuppa, and get comfortable. If you’ve been keeping a Garden Journal, you’ll like this one. As your musings take you into next year’s garden in your mind’s eye…plan to delight yourself! Get as practical or metaphorical as you’d like…in the end you’ll have a few […]

    The “Not to Do” List

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Think of this as reassurance that rest is indeed needed, after all we’re going into the season of hibernation. We are in the transition that is Autumn.   While there’s much to prepare for the winter, there are a few perennials that will thank you for leaving them alone until […]

    Propagating Perennials, Dig It?

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Planting season has become almost synonymous with Spring, but Autumn is ideal for a few simple reasons. Summer heat has warmed the earth, it’s perfect for nurturing root growth of new transplants. Autumn’s cool temperatures signal Flora to store up, slow down, and prepare to rest. There’s no pressure to […]

    The Tomato’s Last Blast

    Written by: Sumati Shah   By now a lot of you are sick of hearing about tomatoes already, lucky for you, I’m not sick of talking about them yet HA! You know that most delicious tomato – your new ‘favourite’ one? Hopefully a gift from a friend or neighbour….Who knows how you’d find seeds – […]

    Fall Prep: Hugelkultur

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Have I piqued your interest? What is above ground as a raised bed, or dug into the ground as a trench, or a combo of the two – a swale or berm that’s partially dug and also mounded up? It’s Hugelkultur! And it adapts easily to whatever circumstances you’re creating. […]

    Leaves: From Colour to Compost

    Written by: Sumati Shah; Sumati’s Sattva Salon   The wheel of the season has turned and crisp temperatures creep into the in between time… reminding me that like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives….HA! Seriously though, this time of year always does become romantically reflective – a little wistful, and […]

    How’s Your Herbiary?

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Herbs are a tiny harvest job available at almost any time. The more I have as permanent residents in my garden, the better.  (I pronounce the “H” – Ha! Herbs!) They’re perennially available when I need them.   I’ve been known to shovel my way to the parsley patch and […]

    Autumn? Time to think Spring.

    Written by: Sumati Shah   No, no blinking and missing winter… sorry, not sorry! Those first blooms in the early spring are like a tonic; the bright colours just a peek of what is about to unfold before us.  You want that wink of sunshine there on the grey spring day? It’s time to plan […]

    Slow Down, it’s September

    Written by: Sumati Shah   September blows in all the changes at once, it seems to me: Return to Routine …. “Back to school season” brings changes to the routing whether or not you’ve got kids or attend school. It’s an obvious opportunity to pause and reflect, consider the summer past, and the one you […]

    September: Harvest and Store

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Here in my little valley town in  Southern Ontario, the weather flipped with the calendar page and blew a cool autumn breeze in with the 1st of September, .as if to make certain that we acknowledge the change. Ok, I’m taking the cue! Enjoy your harvest. Tomatoes of all shapes […]

    Plant it… in Your Garden Journal

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Every year, I forget at least half of the remarkable things about how last year’s garden grew.  I’m always so sure I’ll remember them, that I didn’t bother to get the journal.  Usually when these insights strike me, my hands and shoes are muddy and going in to fetch the […]

    Get Structured! Woody Plants in the Food Garden

    Written by: Sumati Shah Trees, shrubs and perennials aren’t the first plants that come to mind when I say “Food Garden”, yet they’re invaluable to mine. I only wish I’d planted a few of them sooner. If I had to choose just one for you to try, it’s the Serviceberry.  It comes in a lot […]

    Summer Squash: Admitting You Have a Problem…

    Written by: Sumati Shah   … is the first step to finding a solution!   My summer squash are… squashless.  It’s August. By now I should be harvesting at least 2-3 small to medium sized crook neck and petit pan (I’ve also seen it spelled patty pan, I’m sticking with the French that makes sense) […]

    Birds and Bees and Bugs, Oh My!

    Written by: Sumati Shah   My garden is my wilding place.  The food is a bounty, but so are all the bugs, birds and mammals that pass through.  Bunnies – I have a regular visitor every summer so at this point I think it’s generational residents. It’s a delight to watch which plants attract which […]

    Saving Seeds and Watching Cycles

    Written by: Sumati Shah   This year I’m making a point of harvesting seeds from more of my garden plants.   In between edible harvests, watching tomatoes set and grow bigger by the day, it’s flower seeds that I’m collecting lately. Let’s talk Calendula, for example. There are so many varieties and they do so […]

    Get it While it’s Fresh: Garlic Scape Pesto Yo!

    Written by: Sumati Shah Garlic scapes are a more subtle flavour than bulbs, so I like this whole new flavour profile putting a twist on the traditional pesto that I know and love already. If you like cilantro you’ll love this slightly more chunky pesto, if you don’t (cilantro being a love it or hate […]

    Love in a Mist (Enchanting Edibles)

    Written by: Sumati Shah   Nigella sativa ~ goes by many names but by far my favourite is “Love in a Mist”.  It sounds endlessly romantic and it’s evocative of the light ferny foliage; although this species is slightly less flamboyant than the more ornamental variety, it’s true to its name. Black cumin seed is used for […]

    Embracing Imperfection (Garlic Harvest Part 2)

    Written by: Sumati Shah; Go Go Green Thumbs   The parallels of spiritual work and personal growth and gardening just can’t be overlooked. I’m excited about finding these nuggets and sharing them with YOU!  I hope you all find something to inspire or satisfy a curiosity! For me, it’s often about adapting, discovering plans that […]

    Garlic Harvest

    Written by: Sumati Shah; Go Go Green Thumbs   In the autumn of 2019, later than usual (November), I planted a bag of garlic bulbs from the season before, which I’d neglected.  Spring 2020 and my garlic sprouted as expected, but then before the scapes even formed their beautiful curlicues (my cue to harvest those […]

    Got Grass?

    Written by: Sumati Shah; Go Go Green Thumbs   Got Grass?  Umm, not the kind that was legalized recently, but that lawn stuff?  Yeah that.  If I put the whole thing on the compost pile, it’s way too stinky.  I myself don’t mind it all that much, but my husband curls his nose at it, […]